The Year In Music (So Far): 2012

Discussion: Our Favorite Music Of The Year (So Far)

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Clockwise from upper left: Kishi Bashi, Simone White, Bobby Womack, Aleksa Palladino of Exitmusic, Sinead O'Connor.

Clockwise from upper left: Kishi Bashi, Simone White, Bobby Womack, Aleksa Palladino of Exitmusic, Sinead O'Connor. Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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This week on All Songs Considered, co-hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton are joined by NPR Music's Stephen Thompson and Ann Powers to take a step back, catch their breaths and consider the past six months of music. They share their favorite new artists, biggest surprises and favorite albums and songs from the first half of 2012. The biggest surprise of the year? Bob is into a Swedish pop song with the line, "You're from the '70s / but I'm a '90s b——."

Second to Bob's unexpected pop pick: the heated discussion of Carly Rae Jepsen's sugary song of the summer, "Call Me Maybe." This week's show features a batch of poptimistic, feel-good songs, as well as a few tracks better heard alone in a dark, quiet room. These favorite songs of the year aren't necessarily delicately crafted; particularly awesome is Japandroids' rebellious "Fire's Highway," with a shout-to-the-heavens chorus and brash guitar and drums. Bob and Robin's favorite new artist of the year so far, Kishi Bashi, uses layers and loops to create a radiant, uplifting soundscape in "Bright Whites."

Another theme of the year seemed to be artists who've been around for a while, like Sinead O'Connor and Bobby Womack, as well as triumphant comeback albums like Fiona Apple's The Idler Wheel...

You can hear the entire discussion above and check out full versions of each track discussed below.

Discussion: Our Favorite Music Of The Year (So Far)

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Kishi Bashi

  • Song: Bright Whites
  • From: 151A
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Bright Whites
Album
151A
Artist
Kishi Bashi
Label
Joyful Noise
Released
2012

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Cover for Threads

Now, Now

  • Song: Thread
  • From: Threads
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Thread
Album
Threads
Artist
Now, Now
Label
TRANS RECORDS
Released
2012

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Cover for Look Out Mama

Hurray For The Riff Raff

  • Song: Born to Win (Part One)
  • From: Look Out Mama
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Cover for Celebration Rock

Japandroids

  • Song: Fire's Highway
  • From: Celebration Rock
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Song
Fire's Highway
Album
Celebration Rock
Artist
Japandroids
Label
Polyvinyl
Released
2012

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Cover for How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?

Sinead O'Connor

  • Song: I Had A Baby
  • From: How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?
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I Had A Baby
Album
How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?
Artist
Sinead O'Connor
Label
One Little Indian
Released
2012

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Cover for The Idler Wheel...

Fiona Apple

  • Artist: Fiona Apple
  • Song: Hot Knife
  • From: The Idler Wheel...
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Hot Knife
Album
The Idler Wheel...
Artist
Fiona Apple
Label
Epic
Released
2012

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Icona Pop

  • Song: I Love It
  • From: I Love It (Single)
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Spiritualized

  • Song: Hey Jane
  • From: Sweet Heart Sweet Light
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Hey Jane
Album
Sweet Heart Sweet Light
Artist
Spiritualized
Label
FAT POSSUM RECORDS
Released
2012

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Exitmusic

  • Song: City
  • From: Passage
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City
Album
Passage
Artist
Exitmusic
Label
Secretly Canadian
Released
2012

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Cover for What We Saw From The Cheap Seats

Regina Spektor

  • Song: Small Town Moon
  • From: What We Saw From The Cheap Seats
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Small Town Moon
Album
What We Saw From The Cheap Seats
Artist
Regina Spektor
Label
Sire/WEA
Released
2012

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Cover for The Bravest Man In The Universe

Bobby Womack

  • Song: Please Forgive My Heart
  • From: The Bravest Man In The Universe
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Please Forgive My Heart
Album
The Bravest Man In The Universe
Artist
Bobby Womack
Label
XL Recordings
Released
2012

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Cover for Call Me Maybe [Single]

Carly Rae Jepsen

  • Song: Call Me Maybe
  • From: Call Me Maybe [Single]
YouTube

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Song
Call Me Maybe
Album
Call Me Maybe [Single]
Artist
Carly Rae Jepsen
Label
Interscope
Released
2012

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Cover for Adventures In Your Own Backyard

Patrick Watson

  • Song: Adventures In Your Own Backyard
  • From: Adventures In Your Own Backyard
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Adventures In Your Own Backyard
Album
Adventures In Your Own Backyard
Artist
Patrick Watson
Label
Domino
Released
2012

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Simone White

  • Song: Big Dreams and the Headlines
  • From: Silver Silver
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Big Dreams and the Headlines
Album
Silver Silver
Artist
Simone White
Label
Honest Jon's
Released
2012

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Cover for The Only Place

Best Coast

  • Song: The Only Place
  • From: The Only Place
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The Only Place
Album
The Only Place
Artist
Best Coast
Label
Mexican Summer
Released
2012

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What We Saw From The Cheap Seats

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Album
What We Saw From The Cheap Seats
Artist
Regina Spektor
Label
Sire/WEA
Released
2012

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Sweet Heart Sweet Light

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Album
Sweet Heart Sweet Light
Artist
Spiritualized
Label
FAT POSSUM RECORDS
Released
2012

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Threads

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Album
Threads
Artist
Now, Now
Label
TRANS RECORDS
Released
2012

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151A

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Album
151A
Artist
Kishi Bashi
Label
Joyful Noise
Released
2012

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The Idler Wheel...

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Album
The Idler Wheel...
Artist
Fiona Apple
Label
Epic
Released
2012

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Passage

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Album
Passage
Artist
Exitmusic
Label
Secretly Canadian
Released
2012

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